Participants who attend a WEP workshop often ask me how they can get involved in local stewardship initatives. Ian Wright is a great example of how individuals can work with communities to help conserve wetlands. He took our 2011 Wetlandkeeper course in Squamish, and is currently working with Shawnigan Lake School on Vancouver Island to restore a local wetland.
Ian wrote the following about this initiative:
“Today’s youth inherit a world of degraded ecosystems, so it is important that they are empowered with hands-on opportunities to repair damaged landscapes. Shawnigan Lake School is including wetland restoration in its curriculum to foster a sense of environmental stewardship among its students. They’re working with a 2.5 hectare wetland that’s full of the invasive reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) left over from its agricultural past. The school envisions the wetland as a valuable educational resource not only for its students, but for visiting school groups that seek a venue for hands-on learning in the field, and for university students to conduct research projects. While education is the primary aim of this project, its implementation will involve the restoration of natural wetland values that can coexist with surrounding land use. In particular, replacing the reed canary grass with a diversity of native plants is a high priority. A baseline study began this spring, with the students putting on waders for the first time to embark on a vegetation survey. Shawnigan students also carried out a survey of the fish along the wetland’s riparian edge. Thanks to my classmate Cavan Gates who helped with plant sampling. Elke Wind, a local herpetologist, led the amphibian surveys this week, and field ornithologist Derrick Marven is lending his expertise with bird counts. Anyone interested in this project can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. “
Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma Student, University of Victoria
To Ian and all those at Shawnigan Lake School who are taking part in wetland conservation: Great job! We look forward to hearing more about this fantastic project.